Damien Chazelle is one of the most promising directors of his generation. In his brief 37 years on this planet, Chazelle racked up Oscar nominations for three films in eight movie filmography from 2014 to 2018. In 2016, Chazelle snagged the Oscar for best director for his modern musical La La Land, making him the youngest director in the history of the Academy to earn the honor.
As a young director, Chazelle presumably has a myriad of perspectives and insights into the contemporary culture that his relatively older peers don't possess. For example, several young up-and-coming amateur filmmakers are beginning to use their smartphones for all aspects of production from pre to post. According to AVClub, despite having access to state-of-the-art film equipment, Chazelle decided to challenge himself by making a two-hour cut of his most recent film three-hour film Babylon on his iPhone. The cut apparently features the director's wife in one of the key film's key roles.
Usually, when a director talks about a version other than the theatrical cut, it's a longer work that fleshes out the story, including all the little tidbits the director did not want to part with in editing. However, when making the lavish and exorbitant Babylon, director Damien Chazelle challenged himself by making a two-hour cut, in his backyard, using his iPhone.
"It's a very tight, two-hour version of the entire movie, [filmed] on an iPhone in our backyard," the director explains in a Q&A, per Entertainment Weekly.
Chazelle shot the two-hour version with the help of his wife, Olivia Hamilton (who plays Ruth Adler) and lead actor Diego Calva (who plays Manny Torres).
"We rehearsed the whole movie in his backyard, only Olivia, Damien, and I," Calva says. "It was a very uncommon kind of situation."